EHF European Cup 2017/18 - Article - Defending champions eye more glory with new coach
23.01.2018, 11:50◄ last page     

Men's EHF Cup countdown #1: Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER). The record four-time winners of the competition are still hungry for more titles

Defending champions eye more glory with new coach

They were the first club to defend their EHF Cup trophy after the new system was implemented in the 2012/13 season. And following their victory on home court in May, Frisch Auf Göppingen have become the record winners of the competition, leading fellow German sides THW Kiel and SC Magdeburg, who won the trophy three times in the old format.

No team has been more dominant in the old and new version of the EHF Cup as Göppingen have taken the title four times in seven seasons between 2011 and 2017.

And they are hungry for more success as the Men's EHF Cup Group Phase in February.

Despite the great success on international level, the 12-time German champions fired their Swedish coach Magnus Andersson at the end of September. The reason was the lack of success in the Bundesliga.

One of the most experienced German handball coaches took over: Rolf Brack, who steered Balingen for more than a decade and later was the Swiss national team coach.

The sports and handball professor at the Stuttgart University had a debut at the age of 64: The EHF Cup Qualification Round 3 matches against OIF Arendal in November were his first ever international games on club level.

After a surprising draw on home court, the defending champions beat the Norwegian side 31:21 in the away game 10 days later.

Göppingen’s major target is to make it to the EHF Cup Finals again. The club bid to host the event again but that honour has been awarded to SC Magdeburg.

“We have won this competition four times, which is a glorious tradition. But we think more about the obligation to be successful again to proceed to the final destination,” Brack says.

After long-term team captain Manuel Späth moved to the local rivals Stuttgart, Serbia’s Zarko Sesum took over the position. He can win his fourth EHF Cup title in the new format after raising the trophy with Rhein-Neckar Löwen in 2013 and with Göppingen in 2016 and 2017.

Two experienced Danes, Alan Damgaard and Jacob Bagersted, are among the new arrivals but the club might attract a new player to replace the long-term injured right wings Anton Halen and Tomas Urban.

In Group C, Cocks, Nexe and Koper are Göppingen’s opponents.

“This is an interesting group. Cocks are a dangerous underdog which proved their strength in the previous seasons. Koper and Nexe represent the classical Balkan style of handball. The latter have good chances to proceed, too,” Brack says.

The coach regards Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, Saint Raphael, Chambery and Granollers the main contenders for reaching the EHF Cup Finals, apart from the three German sides.

Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER)

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase 2017/18: Round 3: 27:27, 31:21 against Arendal (NOR)

Newcomers: Jacob Bagersted (SC Magdeburg), Allan Damgaard (Bjerringbro-Silkeborg), Kresimir Kozina (Füchse Berlin), Joscha Ritterbach (ASV Hamm/Westfalen), Tomas Urban (ThSV Eisenach in Sept.), Alexander Trost (TSV Neuhausen/F. in Nov.)

Left the club: Manuel Späth (TVB Stuttgart), Andreas Berg (Alingsas HK), Niclas Barud (Alingsas HK), Bastian Rutschmann (Bergischer HC)

Coach: Rolf Brack (since Sept. 2017, replacing Magnus Andersson)

Team captain: Zarko Sesum

Opponents in the group matches: Cocks, Nexe, Koper in Group C

EHF Champions League records:

Other European Cup records:

EHF Cup:
Winners: 2010/11, 2011/12, 2015/16, 2016/17
Runners-up: 2005/06
Finals: 2012/13 (ranked fourth)
Quarter-finalists: 2009/10

European Cup of Champions:
Winners: 1960, 1962

German champions (12): 1954, 1957 (both outdoor); 1954, 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1970, 1972

German cup winners: -

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew

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